Gamma-Hacked!

‘Gamma-Hacked!’ is my first project that I will be blogging about.  Ever since I bought ‘Gamma World: Fourth Edition’ in 1993, I have been a fan of the Gamma World role-playing game and setting.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the maker of ‘Dungeons & Dragons’, TSR, created a post-apocalyptic role-playing game called ‘Gamma World’ as a change of pace from fantasy role-playing.  Described as “science-fantasy” (which means that, while part of the science-fiction genre, the setting is not grounded or based on science at all), this game takes place in the far future – centuries after an event called ‘The Cataclysm’ occurred, which caused nuclear, biological and chemical weaponry to be released on a massive scale, causing global climatic changes and an extremely mutated gene pool.

In this setting, civilization is dawning for the second time after hundreds of years of strife and suffering.  Towns have rediscovered how to make printing presses and gunpowder.  While most sentient species want to rebuild, there are many who still want to destroy, and those who want to rebuild have their own ideas on what this new world should become.  The world is still mostly unexplored and uninhabitable, with much undiscovered technology of The World That Was hidden…and thinking.

When playing Gamma World, the greatest problem I would encounter was that the players would expect their characters to start out with futuristic armor and weaponry.  I always found it bizarre that I had to explain to players that what they were requesting was the equivalent of starting a Dungeons & Dragons campaign with high level magical items.  However, I think the “gonzo” game design within ‘Gamma World’ was partially to blame for this misconception.  My players simply believed that the game master was going to throw such powerful monsters and obstacles at them from the get-go, they assumed their characters would be properly equipped to handle any obstacle in any way they chose.

While I never believed that I should resort to this (upon which the disagreement would usually end a campaign as quickly as it would start), my beliefs were confirmed upon reading Wrathofzombie’s post about how he made his characters realize that, like ‘Gamma World’, ‘Hubris’ is not a setting where you should assume that the game master will bend over backwards to make sure your opponent is designed to be easily vanquished upon the player characters showing up on the scene.

However, do not get me wrong.  I have always believed that the game design could be improved to make ‘Gamma World’ a bit less random and, dare I say, a bit more balanced.  I also wanted to find a way to make ‘Gamma World’ a tad less rules heavy.

One day, while reading Wrathofzombie’s excellent blog, I read his post about a new rules light game system called ‘The Black Hack’ that he had fell in love with so much, he was going to shy a bit away from ‘Dungeon Crawl Classics’.  This made me extremely worried, as leaving a well known game system for a lesser known one had me picturing the demise of his new company, ‘DIY RPG Productions’.  But after checking it out for myself, and seeing what Mike Evans was able to do with the rules in his product, ‘Cyber-Hacked!’, I was convinced he was on the right track, as always.  I then saw that other people were creating products also using ‘The Black Hack’ rules system.  This made me put it together that ‘The Black Hack’ and ‘Gamma World’ could be the perfect marriage (since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie sure ain’t – Zing!), and thus, my idea for ‘Gamma-Hacked!’ was born.

Now, before anyone decides they need to point it out to me, I do realize that Wizards of the Coast owns Gamma World, and I can never, ever sell ‘Gamma-Hacked!’.  However, I do not believe that to be a sufficient reason to not write what I believe would be an excellent game, such as the DIY RPG Productions product, ‘Into the Wasteland’, which combines the ‘Into the Odd’ rules with the ‘Fallout’ setting.

So, while I have many other ideas I cannot wait to blog about, my upcoming posts will be articles regarding ‘Gamma-Hacked!’.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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